How Does a Fulfillment Center Operate?

If you are starting a new business, or expanding your operations, you might find yourself looking for warehouse space at some point in time.

Searching for a warehouse fulfillment center is a time-consuming process but an important one as it typically involves heavy capital outlays and long term. A warehouse tends to be inactive because it’s used purely for storing inventory. An order fulfillment center is quite the opposite, bustling with activity constantly. A 3PL provides end-to-end order fulfillment solutions at its fulfillment center including:

Image Source: Google

  • Receiving Inventory
  • Picking
  • Kitting items if necessary
  • Packing boxes
  • Preparing shipping labels
  • Shipping orders
  • Managing returns

Operationally in a warehouse, the activity occurs only when inventory is added or sent out.  There are rarely any additional services offered. Depending on how a seller chooses to have their products shipped, the shipping carriers might need to pick up any orders with special delivery times such as same-day or next-day at certain times to ensure on-time delivery. Sometimes certain carriers will have a regular time that they schedule pickups, both for domestic and international shipments.

Usually a fulfillment company will have a cutoff time for orders to be placed to the delivery speed chosen by the customer. For example, an order might need to be placed my noon in order to guarantee next-day delivery.